Nutritional Facts

With all the confusion these days about pet nutrition, I thought I’d try to clear up a few misconceptions about pet food/ingredients.

Corn

  • Myth – “It’s just a filler” or “It’s not digestible.”
  • Fact – Actually, on the contrary. Corn is packed full of very valuable nutrients that support the skin and coat (antioxidants, vitamins A and B, selenium, zinc, amino acids, fatty acids etc.)

It IS very digestible in its “ground” form, the fibrous layer called the hull, protects the corn. Once the hull is broken open, digestive enzymes can break down the fat, carbs and proteins thus, increasing the availability of these nutrients.

Grains

  • Myth – “They cause allergies.”
  • Fact an allergy can be caused by ANY ingredient with a protein. A “grain allergy” does certainly occur, but it’s less common than perceived. Grains have been shown to be no more allergenic than any other ingredient.

By-Products

  • Myth – “It’s low quality” or “It’s not safe.”
  • Fact – Meat by-products (basically what’s left of a slaughtered animal: feet, stomachs, intestines, brain, back, lungs etc., after the parts rendered for human consumption are removed) are as safe as any other ingredient, as long as they are correctly sourced from clean, fresh animals that are from a high-quality facility. Hence, the importance of choosing a reputable pet food manufacturer.

The term “by-product” is NOT an indication of nutritional value.

Raw/Home-Prepared

  • Myth – “It’s easy to balance” or “It’s safe.”
  • Fact – Raw feeding and/or home-prepared diets CAN be healthy, but they DO require intense work, scientific calculations, nutritional knowledge, safe ingredient sourcing, an understanding and ability to measure ingredient digestibility and vitamin/mineral levels for the diet to be nutritionally balanced.

There is always a risk of bacterial contamination when handling raw meat/foods. Your pet may be able to handle these different pathogens. However, humans usually cannot. Even when strict precautions are taken, the risk can still be high. Raw diets are considered a community health issue and are not supported by the Canadian Veterinary Medical Association or the Public Health Agency of Canada.

Written by Mountain Road Animal Hospital

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